The Intrepids

Chapter 7:

Who DOESN'T want this dingus? And why?

Many phone calls ensue.

Alex calls the office and Frannie picks up.  She is soooo thrilled to hear Alex’s voice since soooo many folk have been calling about the dead bodies at the auction house.  “Bloody Massacre at Auction House” is a headline they’re actively trying to avoid.  Alex considers telling them that ‘it could be worse,’ but refrains.  Instead, she assures them that the ‘item in question’ is both secret and safe, and that she’s continuing the investigation. 

“Be a dear-just reassure him for me.”  The auction is on Saturday, so time is starting to run short and tensions in the office are running high.  Frannie wishes her luck and reminds her to call again if there’s anything the office can do to help.

Alex passes the phone to Clara.  “You gotta call a lawyer about a fisherman, right?”

Rex continues to fiddle with his transmitters: “Look!  It runs off of the body’s own electromagnetic field-we’ll never need batteries!”  Jack begins wondering whether the science guy might consider inventing something even more useful-like a sheep-blasting raygun.

Clara calls Jane Bolin and confirms that the lawyer has accepted the case and begun working on it.  She notes that Mr. Leschende is concerned primarily with getting home in time for the beginning of squid season, but she has managed to convince him to stay around long enough for the verification process and auction.  Clara is simply happy to find that he is being well taken care of, and finishes the conversation.

The group decides that since the OTO can’t seem to follow them worth a darn, that they’ll have to go to the OTO.  Clara offers to drive, but recommends that they take one of the hardtop cars-after all, it is a less-than-savory neighborhood in which the OTO has set up shop.

The sign on the building is distinctive, and the group enters.

Jack: >Knock, knock.<

An old man opens the door and greets them, seeming surprised to find five people at his door.  “May I help you?”

Jack: “Yes.  Several men wearing a pin similar to yours seemed to want to speak to us earlier today.  In fact, they seemed to be following us.  We wondered whether we could come in and – since you’re seekers of truth – perhaps help you with what you wanted to find out?”

Old Man: >glances briefly at lapel<  “One moment.”  >Closes the door<

Jack considers picking the lock if the old man doesn’t return quickly enough.

Old Man: “You need to speak with Brother Poole – follow me.”

The building obviously used to be an office, but not for a while.  A lot of old furniture has been pushed to the side and is gathering dust.  The Old Man leads them several rooms back to a nondescript room which is still in use-a desk and a few chairs are arranged, but the overall ambiance is a bit darker and more morbid than would be standard.  A younger version of the Old Man stands behind the desk.

Brother Poole: “Thank you, Brother Towson.  Please-have a seat.”

Jack: “I assume you’ve been told why we’re here.”

Poole: “You have questions.”

Jack: “Yes, and I’m not alone in that.  It seems everywhere we go we’re seeing doves and roses.”…

Alex: >mumbles< “And pelicans.”

Jack: >???<

Alex: “Lapel pins.”

Jack: “Honestly, you are just not very good at following people, so perhaps it would be easier if we just help you.”

Poole: (impassively) “I can think of no questions that I have for you. (pauses) You are in possession of the item, no?”

Jack: “Yes. Why are you following us?”

Poole: “We’re merely doing what we must in order to fulfill the wishes of our ascendant leader.”

Jack: “And your ascendant leader’s interest in the item is…?”

Poole: “He says it is important.  It is not my role to question.”

Clara: “What does he want with it?”

Poole: “We are simply to keep it in our sights.”

Clara: “Sights or hands?”

Poole: “Sight.”

Jack: “Who is this leader?”

Poole: >bewildered< “The Spaniard.  Senor Rojas.”

*DUN DUN DUNNNNNN!!!*

Alex gasps in recognition and turns to stare meaningfully at Jack.

Poole: “We must follow the will of the ascendant leader.”

Molly: “What happens if you don’t?”

Poole: “It is essential to the ascendant leader’s ascension.”

Clara: “So without the item, he won’t ascend.”

Poole: “I can’t say.”

Jack: “Brother Poole, we do have a connection to your ascendant leader.  If you’d like to have your order’s eyes a bit closer, we’d be willing to consider an arrangement.”

Poole: >raises an eyebrow< “I have other responsibilities.  But I can send someone to you.”

Clara: “Consider this to be an offer of…friendship…perhaps?”

The group returns to the car to confer about the tangled matrix of thugs, societies and leaders (ascendant and non).  They smile and wave at the surprised ‘brothers’ who are returning from yet another failed attempt at tailing the Intrepids.

Major points: Why would an Egyptian-based society be interested in a Mayan/Toltec icon as even a symbolic item? Is it possible that the statue is concealing something?  Regardless, it is time to call Senor Rojas.

“To the Club!”

Clara: VROOOOOOOOOM!!!

Tires: SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Piet, the evening doorman, greets them.  At this point, Molly is certain that she sees one of the thugs from their initial foray along with a few gentlemen of similar style reading the paper across the street.  Jack notices the suspiciousness of their nature, and Clara is perfectly aware that they’re packing.  Piet confirms that they’ve been there since he came on duty.

Jack decides to sneak away and come at the thugs from a different angle while the rest of the team hovers around the car finding things to do. 

Jack: “Hey, any of you guys have the racing form. I was thinking – hey!  I know you – I know your friend Vinnie!”

Guy-in-Charge: “How do you know Vinnie?”

Jack: “We knock around – I try to keep in touch with my roots.”

GIC: “Like knock around the head?”

Thug-lings: (hands to weapons) meaningful grunt

Jack catches the eye of the group.

Jack: “Truthfully, I just wanted to know what you find so fascinating about our little club.”

GIC: “We were looking for you in fact.”

Jack: “Ah…hey-have you ever seen that?  A broad working on an engine!”

GIC: “Hunh?”

Thug-lings: “Hunh?”

Jack: >KA-POW!!!<

 GIC: >staggers back<

Thug-lings: >reach for weapons, pause< Uh…should we grease’em, Tony?"

GIC-nay-Tony: >bleeding from the mouth & nose< “No – we need to ask him some questions first.”"

Thug-lings: “Ok, boss. ” >reach for brass knuckles, grin<

As the carnage is about to commence, the rest of the group leaps into action!

Clara: LEAP!

Alex: LEAP!

Molly: LEAP!

Rex: LEAP!

Thug-lings: “Hunh?”

Molly’s gun: Ka-blam

Thug-ling #1: “OW!” >*falls*, still alive<

Clara: Ka-blam

Thug-ling #2: “OOF!” (falls, flails, hits Tony with brass knuckles, knocking him unconscious)

Alex and Rex: “Woo-hoo!”

Piet: “I’ll get the service entrance for you, shall I?”

The group drags the thugs into the Club in order to bandage them up and have a little sit down chat with them.  Luckily, the Club’s scheduled bingo night has been canceled, so there are enough sub-basement interrogation chambers to use.  Tony is handcuffed to the nearest radiator, and Alex and Jack begin the interrogation.

Jack: “So, Tony, you said you had some questions.”

Tony: >*silent contempt*<

Jack: “Is it like ‘where did I get this snappy suit?’”

Tony: “It was more, how did you know how to impersonate Vinnie so well.”

Jack: “I watch, I learn, you know?  We’re willing to have a civilized conversation here.  I see no reason to keep you in the dark….”

Tony: “You kind of got everyone killed.  Vinnie’s plan didn’t involve getting everyone killed!”

Jack: “If I hadn’t been there YOU wouldn’t have made it out.  And how were we to know it would go down like that?  So no, I didn’t get your friends killed – the other guys killed them.  And I kept you alive.  Any other questions?”

Tony: “What?  You want a thank you?”

Jack:  “I’m not the one that came to find you.  You want coffee, water?”

Tony: “Water.”

Jack goes off to get the water, leaving Alex to be ‘bad cop.’

Meanwhile, one interrogation room over…

Clara and Molly offer the thug-lings water, and ask why they’ve been following them.  Nic and Big Mike insist that they were only waiting for Jack because Tony told them to after Vinnie returned without his clothes.  Vinnie’s in trouble with the boss.  Unfortunately, as back-up foot soldiers, they’re not really in the know about anything.  They’re also a little confused about how they ended up in a sub-basement, chained to radiators, being interrogated by girls.  Clara and Molly decide that it’s futile to ask any further questions.

Back in the serious interrogation room (after being debriefed on the way back from getting water)…

Jack: “What can you tell us about this Baroness?”

Tony: “I can tell you she’s angry.”

Jack: “Have you ever seen her?”

Tony: “No.”

Jack: “I’ll assume Vinnie has.”

Tony: “No.”

Jack: “So, you just came to knock me around for Vinnie, or what?”

Tony: “No – we wanted to find out how you knew what was going on.”

Jack: “Point one – nobody reads the same page of the paper for five minutes.  Point two – If you sit outside a high end art gallery dressed exactly alike, and dressed like a thug, people will notice.  No magic involved.  Do you want me to teach you your job?”

Tony: “You Century Club people think you’re hot stuff, hunh?”  >smiles smugly<

Jack: “You know a lot of the Century Club?”

Tony: “Just you.  And I liked you up until the moment you got all condescending-like.”

The two continue the conversation until a key moment of revelation when Tony casually suggests that their presence has been a ruse to keep them busy while Molly’s apartment has been ransacked and the jaguar stolen.  After all, the boss was VERY angry. The Intrepids let the thugs go and rush to the Ritz.

Back at the apartment…

The first thing they notice is the firetruck out front. 

Firemen: “We’re not sure.  We got a call about some localized fires.  We saw some evidence of it-piles of ashes…”

The group races upstairs.  The door is locked, and they enter to find Rufus and Rama cleaning up the ‘remains’ of the ‘fire.’ 

Rufus: “Madam…you’re safe…I’m so relieved.  You had a number of…callers.  I referred them to your secretary.” >gestures to Rama<

When questioned, it is revealed that three ninjas were successfully killed, several more escaped and when killed caused a neighbor to call the fire department.  Rama is aggrieved that he couldn’t perform his duties more effectively.

The jaguars, inexplicably, are still locked tight in the safe, and Jack confirms that the weights are the same so no switch has been made.  The group looks at each other and wonders…

NOW WHAT???

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JMazur

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